Week 17 was marked by more debate on budget bills and the debate on a bill to ban abortions after a heartbeat is detected. We have settled into a routine where Appropriations committee meetings and other preparations happen during the day, and debate begins in the late afternoon or early evening. We are working diligently towards final adjournment late this week.
Senate File 359, known as the “Fetal Heartbeat” bill, was debated on Tuesday, May 1. This bill was sent over from the Senate many weeks ago and has been a topic of much work and discussion in the House leading up to the action taken this week. This bill, as amended, will make it illegal to abort a baby after its heartbeat is detected, usually in the range of 6-8 weeks into the pregnancy, with certain exceptions being allowed. Current law, passed in 2017, makes abortions illegal after 20 weeks. This bill also makes it illegal to sell fetal body parts or tissue that result from an abortion.
Agreement to move it to the floor for debate was reached based on an amendment that made exceptions for cases of rape, incest, fetal abnormality, or medical emergency for the mother. While the value of a life does not depend on the circumstances it is conceived in, it is difficult to limit the options for a victim of rape or when the fetus has abnormalities that are incompatible with life, leading to these exceptions. This bill leaves the 20 week restriction passed in 2017 in place for the exceptions. The bill passed the House 51 to 46 at 11:30 that evening. The Senate was patiently waiting for the bill to pass the House so they could take it up, and passed 29 to 17 at 2:30 in the morning, sending it to the Governor for consideration.
Passing Pro-Life legislation like this has been one of the fundamental issues that I’ve stood for long before I began my bid to enter the Iowa House. An unborn child is a precious and vulnerable human being that deserves all of our respect and protection. I find the practice of wantonly killing an unborn child in the womb simply because it is unwanted to be heinous. A civilized and moral society does not deliberately kill its own children. I am thrilled to be able to vote to take this critical and historic step forward in protecting these precious lives.
House File 2377 – Combatting Opiod Epidemic – This bill seeks to improve our prescription management in order to minimize the Opiod epidemic of addiction and death. The centerpiece of this legislation is the requirement that all pharmacists that dispense Opiods participate in the Prescription Management Program, an on-line registry of these prescriptions, so that their use can be monitored in order to prevent “doctor shopping” for more prescriptions.
The tax reform bill planned for this session continues to be discussed and refined. The bill will prioritize relief for Iowa’s hard-working middle class families by lowering rates and simplifying the tax code beginning in fiscal year 2019 and phasing in other changes through 2023. The income tax cut will average 10% with relief reaching 93% of middle class taxpayers. In 2019 alone taxpayers will realize $400 million in lower income tax burden. By 2023 the number of individual income tax brackets will be reduced with the top rate reaching 6.5%, it will eliminate federal deductibility, and lower the top corporate rate to 9.8%, down from 12% currently. We intend to debate this bill later this week as we work towards adjournment.
As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-750-3594.